Harrogate 29-17 Tynedale: Lionhearted defence takes 'Gate to victory

Harrogate's Sam Bottomley (Photo: Richard Bown)
Harrogate's Sam Bottomley (Photo: Richard Bown)

Harrogate 29-17 Tynedale

Tynedale’s survival hopes suffered a blow after they crashed to defeat against a determined Harrogate outfit who defended like Trojans.

The Geordies take on Leicester Lions next week embroiled in five-way fight against the drop after results elsewhere conspired against them.

Despite enjoying large swathes of possession, Scott Lawson’s side were profligate in attack and tries from Harrogate duo Harry Barnard and Luke Edwards and 19 points from the boot of Lewis Minikin secured victory for the Yorkshiremen.

Tynedale boss Lawson lamented: “To come away with nothing is massively disappointing. We created a lot but Harrogate’s defence was superb.

“Attack’s been our best weapon this season and we’ve been on an upward curve, but we weren’t clinical enough and ended up forcing things.”

A frenetic opening period saw Minikin and Rob Parker exchange penalties before Tynedale threatened through Ben Haigh.

His offload failed to find Scott Powell and Minikin restored Harrogate’s lead with a second three-pointer after Callum Irvine’s crossfield kick caused confusion in the visiting ranks.

Matt Outson’s break put Tynedale on the front foot and Louis Frankland carried hard. Matthew Charters went close before Harrogate infringed, enabling Parker to stroke his side level.

Irvine again pinned Tynedale back and good driving play from Tom Harvey forced another penalty which Minikin converted for a 9-6 lead.

Tempers flared from the restart and Aurin Yorke and Graeme Dunn were sin-binned by referee Ben Davies following a bout of fisticuffs.

Tynedale thought they had scored but Powell was adjudged held up. However, the opening try was not long delayed as Ben Duncan surged onto a Joe Mills offload to race in from 30 metres to put the visitors ahead.

Their lead was short-lived, though, as Minikin’s linebreak was carried on by Jake Brady and the ball was worked wide for Barnard to finish.

Harrogate led 16-11 at the break and Tynedale threatened from the restart when the busy Outson broke clear. But disaster struck the visitors when Parker’s pass was picked off by Edwards who raced home for a game-changing try.

Parker made partial amends by slotting a penalty soon after but the wind had been taken from Tynedale sails and, after Nick Cairns saw yellow for killing the ball, Minikin’s fourth penalty extended Harrogate’s lead to 12 points.

James Clark broke dangerously as Tynedale sought a way back, before the wing narrowly failed to latch onto Outson’s grubber.

Harrogate almost grabbed a third try when Callum Irvine broke clear, but he was unable to ground his own kick ahead. Play was brought back for a scrum, though, and a huge home shove produced a penalty that Minikin landed.

Tynedale pressed to the end but, despite Outson’s impressive promptings, further stout home defending secured the points.

Harrogate boss Mike Aspinall said: “It was an important week for us and we got back on track. I was really pleased with our defence.

“It was a good, honest performance and it’s vital that the lads finish the season well and take momentum into the off-season.”